IOC president Thomas Bach says Australia’s famous love of sport gives it a great chance of hosting the 2028 Olympics, if an expected bid from south-east Queensland eventuates.
Bach met with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday before visiting Sydney Olympic Park, home of the 2000 Games, with AOC boss John Coates.
The affable German is encouraging Brisbane to bid for the 2028 Olympics as the South East Queensland Council of Mayors launches a feasibility study into the bid.
The feasibility study has the backing of the AOC, and the IOC president said Australia’s strong representation in the Olympic movement – including Coates as his vice-president and James Tomkins on the IOC’s athletes’ commission – would boost its prospects.
Australian’s “worldwide famous love” of sport, their athletes and their great organisational skills would also help.
“A bid from Australia would enjoy a lot of sympathy and would in fact have very good chances then also to win,” he said.
Bach said 28 years between hosting two Olympic Games was certainly not too soon for Australia.
“The Games are rotating around the world but there is no established circle,” he said.
“There is no rotation by years.”
But with the hosts of the 2024 Olympics not even being decided for two more years, Bach admitted it was premature to start predicting where the 2028 Games would be staged.
The first IOC president to visit Australia since Jacques Rogge in 2005, Bach said India had also expressed interest in going for the 2028 Games.
He predicted that at least one of the losing bid candidates for 2024 would enter the race.
Boston, Rome and Hamburg are in the race for 2024, with perennial contenders Paris and Istanbul said to be considering entering the bid
The 61-year-old Bach was in the crowd for Cathy Freeman’s epic 400-metres hurdles win in 2000 and said returning to the stadium on Wednesday and watching a replay of the race was an emotional experience.
“It gives you goosebumps when you see this and when you remember the roar in the stadium, when you remember how this tension exploded in joy after she crossed the finish line,” he said.
Bach also enjoyed giving a pep talk to a group of young fencers at Olympic Park during his flying trip to Sydney.
On Thursday he will meet with a dozen mayors from south-east Queensland, before his IOC party heads to Fiji for the Oceania National Olympic Committee meetings.